Thursday, March 2, 2023 @

Chapter 65, Part 1

 Originally, the word "curse" is said to have the same origin as the word "blessing". Although the word "curse" has a strong negative impression to modern people, it itself does not distinguish between right and wrong, as the word "curse" implies. Whether it is a thing or a word, it all depends on the person who uses it.
 In this case, however, such historical and language facts were not going to be of some comfort.
 I braced myself for the words that Tsuchigumo spat out at the exact moment of her death. After all, at the moment I had stabbed the monster in front of me, at the moment I had taken her life, I had certainly felt something.
 It was a strange feeling that I could not describe in words... that made me stiffen and alert without moving an inch. I didn't know what was going to happen next. So, I just lay there, breath trembling, cold sweat pouring from my forehead. At the same time, there was a strange silence around me.
 "Big bro...!!"
 The voice breaks the silence, and I only look at them. In my vision, I see a boy and a woman rushing toward me. Immediately I shout.
 "D-don't come...!! I may be cursed!! I don't know what will happen if you get too close!!"
 I warn them not to come here. It's dangerous to talk like this if it's true. Although it's not like the cursed video, in the case of a bad curse, not only the person himself but even the people around him can be involved in an unreasonable misfortune through a trivial connection.
 "...!? Stop!!"
 At my words, Madam Adviser raises her hand and holds Shirowakamaru still. She watches me carefully, and then she moves closer to me.
 "...Is there anything wrong with your body?"
 I shake my head in denial at the tense words of Madam Adviser.
 Yes, there's nothing wrong with me so far. Absolutely nothing.
 But... I don't think the spider was spouting nonsense at the last moment.
 "Madam Adviser, I'll be the one coming to him. Please wait."
 Hayama appears from behind Kochou and volunteers to step forward.
 He was considering the possibility that approaching or touching my side might cause harm to the person in question.
 "Hayama, take it easy! There'll be more experts here after the people on the surface. Isn't that dangerous...!!?"
 "It's no good! People from the surface cannot be trusted!! Wasn't Madam understand that!?"
 Hayama shouted. But he was right.
 I am a dangerous thing now because I am affected by Tsuchigumo's curse. Since no one knows what will happen to me, I must be killed immediately... or, in some cases, the death of the person who received the curse may trigger the curse itself. Maybe the person who received the curse will be sealed after the amputation of his/her limbs.
 In any case, there is no way to get rid of the curse. In fact, depending on the route, the main character has suffered a similar bad end.
 ...Well, since I have been seen as a monster by many people here, there was a high possibility that I would end up as a laboratory experiment anyway.
 I don't care if I'm not seen as a dangerous thing to the amused Gorilla-sama, Madam Adviser, and Hayama, there is no reason for other people to turn a blind eye to youkai-mother's blood eating away at my body. They also have no reason to protect me.
 The same is true about Botan's hummingbird shikigami. There was no way for them to know on the spot that she was Matsushige's daughter shikigami, but if I were interrogated, they must have found out.
 So, if anyone finds out that I was in touch with the wanted person... Haha, all the problems that I've been keeping buried under the circumstance came to me at once.
 "Please don't be hasty!! I'll check if it's safe or not...!"
 I laugh scornfully at myself, and Hayama shouts in frustration. He comes even closer to me as he screams. With a bold and daring move. In response, I shout out a warning.
 "Hey, idiot!! Stop it, you'll be cursed too...!!"
 "Excuse me...!!"
 Before I could stop him, Hayama was on me at once. He apologizes for his rudeness and touches me. Then he touches my arm and touches the dagger (tantō) that has the monster's head stuck in it.
 Immediately, he pulls it out with... all his might.
 It must have been stuck in the outer shell of the tantalum. To pull out the dagger (tantō) seemed to require a lot of force, and Hayama fell backward with the force of pulling it out. I also fell on my backside as if caught up in it. I try to open my mouth, but I immediately tense up and sharpen my senses. I frantically watch my surroundings, looking for anything unusual about myself.
 Silence reigns around me as I gulp. I must have counted at least a hundred. But finally, I let out a small breath when I realize that nothing has changed. Then I turn to Hayama and speak.
 "You're reckless!! You could have died if you weren't careful!!"
 "I-I'm sorry. But..."
 "Don't say 'but'!! You stupid!! Value your own life over someone else's!!"
 Hayama is too innocent to be of Kizuki's blood and too good to be a human in this world. And goodness is not a merit in this world.
 Instead, in this world, goodness causes misfortune to those around them and to themselves. Many people are powerless, and their scope of reach is small. If they do not cut down everything except what is truly important, they will lose everything.
 And yet... because of his goodness, I can't help but think of all the things he's done, and I can't help but raise my voice. And after I've raised my voice, I realize that I've been too emotional even though I'm a servant. I involuntarily look at Hayama's face beside me.
 Hayama's eyes widen in surprise, and I awkwardly look away. I felt like cursing my own carelessness in taking the initiative to shout at him, even though I was in a lower position. This is self-destructive!!
 "No, I'm sorry. But..."
 "N-no... I was careless too. Forgive me. But I'm glad you're safe."
 "...Yeah, I know."
 I reply shortly and turn to look at him, noticing his gaze. After confirming my safety, Madam Adviser and Shirowakamaru came to my side. Then I remembered.
 "...Shirowakamaru, you were shouting when I stabbed this monster, weren't you? Did you see something?"
 I asked the question, but I knew the answer from the beginning. Shirowakamaru nods. Then he answers.
 "Uhh... I saw something like a black shadow. It came out of the spider, and this thing went around to envelop both of you...."
 Shirowakamaru took a glance at the motionless corpse of the dead spider and turned to me again. His expression was puzzled.
 "B-but... it's gone now. It disappeared. You know, the moment you stabbed the creature and a bad feeling came over me, suddenly, it was never happening at all."
 The boy stares at me for a while as if observing me and then opens his mouth again.
 "It's not there anymore. The bad feeling I had just now is... gone. I-I'm not lying, okay?"
 After checking hard for anything out of the ordinary, the boy replies desperately.
 "Don't worry, I don't think you're lying."
 He meant it. Shirowakamaru, who had a talent and competence as a priestess even for a boy, was a character who could understand this kind of curse sensitively, and it saved the main character's life depending on the route he took. Perhaps Shirowakamaru's words are right, the curse is not something that would bring a strong evil to me personally.
 But then...
 "...Your family will be checked. Don't worry, if necessary, I will arrange for a ritual to counteract the curse."
 I looked at the Madam anxiously, and she answered as if she had read my thoughts. I was afraid of the possibility of a delay curse, but at the same time, I was afraid of the possibility of a curse that would bring harm not to me but to my family. In case anyone is wondering, when the Kizuki family bought me, they put a curse on me to break off relations with my family in order to reduce the possibility of being blackmailed by the wisdom youkai and other family exorcists, but I was not sure how effective the curse would be in practice.
 "Thank you very much, Madam Adviser...!!!"
 I moved my hurting body and almost got down on my knees to express my gratitude. I couldn't do anything. So, the least I could do was ask her to take care of my family. Otherwise, there's no point in me selling myself. Adviser's words were nothing but a blessing in disguise. Normally, she would not be concerned about my family's safety here. There is no such kindness in this world.
 "There's no need to be so modest. I owe you a leg. Besides, I have something on my mind too..."
 The adviser replied as she stood up, but with a hint of melancholy in her voice. It was a strange thing to say. Legs, huh...? Did she have a broken leg when she was taken captive...? D*mn, I'm having trouble remembering what happened before and after.
 (Come to think of it, did I see something before I woke up...?)
 I think I remembered something very, very important, but I can't.. remember it for some reason.
 Yes, it was as if it was sealed up tight as if I knew something had happened, but that was all, I had no idea what had happened. I wish I could read my own memories, but unfortunately, I can't.... and there is no one I can trust to show my memories to, so there is nothing I can do.
 "No... but thank you anyway, Madam Adviser. I have no further regrets."
 "Anyway, don't do that. Don't exaggerate, you sound like you're about to die."
 "But... Huh!?"
 Having regained a semblance of composure after my main concern is resolved, I look around. When I looked around and noticed her absence, I stood up quickly with a grim look on my face. Thinking about the worst, I start to run.
 I thought I heard Shirowakamaru's voice from behind me, sounding puzzled and yet somewhat regretful. But I had no time to check because my priority was her safety. I reach the bottom of the jade pillar and find a small figure lying on the ground.
 I run to the white fox girl on the ground and pick her up. I check her condition, which has returned to that of a child because of the depletion of her spiritual power. I check if she is breathing and check her pulse.
 The development I feared most about her was whether or not the spider's curse was directed at her through my connection with her. More precisely, was it directed at either the owner of this body or the soul of the gorilla-sama who possessed the body? ...I hoped she was safe, considering that the curse Azuma Hibari had placed on me had not been triggered.
 "She's... breathing. There's a pulse, too."
 I felt the pulsing of a heartbeat in her wrist.
 Warm air was coming out of the little girl's mouth, and her chest was rising and falling slightly. Her body was also weak, but warm. She was alive. Without a doubt, this girl was alive. That was enough to make me feel relieved.

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